right here, write now

2013 High School Writers’ Competition, First Place

Finding Mr. Weston, by Bridget Dowd

Walking along Madison Avenue in the mid afternoon was always a rush — often times there was so much hustle and bustle I couldn’t hear myself think. Usually so many cars and taxis would speed by that they seemed to create their own sort of wind current and a few doll-sized tidal waves on the rainy days. On those days when there was too much water for the drains to keep up with, and the edges of the streets against the curbs were flooded, the tires of every vehicle in the city seemed to purposely take every opportunity to splash through the puddles and soak peoples’ feet to the bone.

Even the sidewalks were a drone of noise with pedestrians walking shoulder to shoulder, all
fighting to get ahead of the crowd. This was impossible to achieve of course because there was
no end to the crowd or a beginning of some sort of line. There were only heads, trench coats,
brief cases and high-heeled shoes, bobbing and tangling every which way for miles and miles all
trying to take their places in the many towering skyscrapers above.

But, today something was different. It seemed quiet and almost peaceful, so much so that I had
a crazy inkling that I could get my very own taxi in the mess. I stopped at a shop on the corner
to buy the latest issue of The New Yorker and a cup of coffee. On my way out the door I glanced at myself in the mirror behind the counter to check my hair, I then pushed the door handle with my hip and deciding not to push my luck calling for a taxi, headed for the subway.

In a half an hour I was walking up the steps to my apartment, expecting to meet my fiancé for
dinner. I reached apartment 3B and began to unlock the door when I realized it was already
open about an inch. Immediately I knew something wasn’t right; Drew would never forget to
lock it.

I entered slowly and cautiously. Unsure if someone was inside, I set my coffee cup, clutch and
newspaper on the entryway table and proceeded down the hallway with stealth. As I tip-toed
I noticed there were pictures missing from the walls. I stood outside the bathroom door and
peeked in — there was no one in sight. I checked the bedroom and the rest of the apartment in
the same manner and found that I was alone.

The place was different. In the bedroom there was no longer a rug beneath my feet, nor a
type writer (is this setting pre-computer?) on the desk, and the closet was half empty. In the
bathroom I found that Drew’s shaving set, comb, gel and other products were no longer in the
cabinet above the sink. The kitchen lacked a few dishes, his coffee mugs and the French press.
Most upsetting was the living room, which had been stripped of the paperwork he looked over
each night while he listened to the radio, his phonograph, reading glasses and all the photos of
us.

I went back to our room and collapsed onto the bed, where I found a note written on custom
made paper from his office stationary. It read:

From the Desk of Mr. Andrew Weston

 Dearest Meredith,

 Please forgive me for what I am about to tell you. Believe me

 when I say that under any normal circumstance, I wouldn’t

 leave for the world and that I love you more than words can

 express. However, something has come up. I am not at

 liberty to go into detail, for I fear I may be killed if they found

 out I had opened my mouth, and your life would be in danger

 too. I will be gone for quite some time and you may not hear

 from me very often, but if you remain at the same address

 and phone number, I will try my best to stay in contact.

 Try not to be terribly upset by this. In the meantime, I have

 left something to keep you from getting too lonely in my

 absence. You will find it in the closet under your jewelry box.

 Never forget that I adore you, mi amor, I promise that we will

 be together again someday and we will be wed at last.

 Love always,

 Drew

 And just like that, he was gone.

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